We don't know who needs to hear this, but it's probably time to schedule your next dental appointment! Have you been putting it off because you're worried about the bill? We've got you covered. If you want to learn how to save on dental care, this post is for you!

little girl getting x-rays at the dentist, from Fun Cheap or Free

Whether you've got two kids or ten, finding ways to save money on medical bills and regular appointments can feel like a full-time job. But it's important not to skip those regular check-ups, so we asked our dentist to share some money-saving advice, and today we're passing along those tips!

This post was generously sponsored by Orem Pediatric Dentistry! Obviously, all reviews and opinions in this post are our own.

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

While many of these tips apply to kids and tweens, this advice is solid for teens and adults, too! By the time you're done reading, you'll know how to save on dental care, and your wallet and smile will both thank you. So, are you ready to save some money? Here we go!


WANT TO SAVE MONEY ON DENTAL CARE? ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS TO BRUSH!

dad and daughter at sink brushing teeth, from Fun Cheap or Free

We know that getting a toddler to brush their teeth can feel a lot like wrestling with an alligator. Trust us. We get it! But the number one way to save money on dental care is by brushing those pearly whites twice per day! So, here are some quick tips you can use from Orem Pediatric Dentistry to get your kids excited about brushing their teeth:

  • Enlist the Help of Their Favorite Character – Let your kids pick out their own toothbrush, and help them find one with their favorite character on it. We've seen Elsa, Elmo, and everything in between on kid's brushes! When in doubt, check Amazon.
  • Turn Toothbrush Time into a Dance Party – Crank up the jams and have some fun with it! If you've got multiple kiddos, let them take turns picking the song to play.
  • Invest in a Toothpaste Dispenser – You may have seen these in our Instagram stories by now! Our kids have loved using these dispensers. It makes it easy for them to brush on their own without making a mess or wasting toothpaste. Plus, they're just plain fun!
  • Try a Smart Toothbrush – This smart toothbrush from Quip is genius! It syncs with an app and gives you reports on your kids' brushing, plus tips for improvement. They can rack up points, too, and cash those in for prizes, which is highly motivating for tweens.

Now that we've got brushing under control let's talk about another game-changer.


FIND A LOCAL PEDIATRIC DENTIST

Girls looking in fish tank at dentist office, from Fun Cheap or Free

Okay, hear us out. Even the strongest of adults can buckle at the knees when they hear it’s time to visit the dentist. Teaching kids while they’re young that going to the dentist isn’t scary and can be fun will help them WANT to keep those pearly whites shining.

If you’re in Utah, check out Orem Pediatric Dentistry. The office is decorated in such an inviting way and our girls weren't nervous at all. The brightly colored wallpaper with animals and saltwater fish tank (can you find Nemo?) probably had something to do with calming those nerves.

The x-ray machine they use is safer for kids which is a huge bonus to the parents, but our kids liked the fun prizes they got at the end. Plus wanna hear the bonus? You get a chocolate truffle at the end of the appointment as a reward for sitting through the dental appointment and taking such good care of your kids' teeth. Sweet! (Literally.)

If you aren’t in Utah, we 100% recommend that you do your research to find a pediatric dentist like Orem Pediatric Dentistry!


FLOSSING IS A HUGE MONEY-SAVER

If you think flossing isn't all that important, think again! Did you know that a procedure for gum disease can cost up to $10,000?! Yikes. Aside from brushing, flossing is the best defense against gum disease. Here are some quick tips and tricks you can use to get your kids in the habit of flossing:

  • Do It Together – You need to floss regularly, too, mama! Make a habit of doing it together every morning and night.
  • Add Flossing to Their Chore Charts – Make flossing a part of the everyday routine by adding it as an item on chore clipboards.
  • Try Flavored Floss – Especially if you have younger kids, you should consider trying a flavored floss. They make just about every flavor under the sun these days!

Now that we've gotten basic hygiene out of the way let's talk about cavities!


3 TIPS FOR PREVENTING CAVITIES

young girl at dental appointment, from Fun Cheap or Free

Cavities can burn a hole in your wallet if you're not careful! The best way to spare your budget is by preventing them in the first place. On average, a filling costs $150-$450 without dental insurance. Here are some cavity prevention tips from our friends at Orem Pediatric Dentistry:

  • Skip the Gummy Vitamins – We know those gummy vitamins are delicious, but sadly they're also not the best for young teeth! Our dentist suggests choosing sugar-free vitamins for your kids.
  • Don't Delay Scheduling the First Appointment  Too many parents wait until their kids are off to school to schedule that first dental appointment. Hey, no judgment here! But here's a fun little fact from the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research: 42% of children between 2-11 have dental cavities affecting primary teeth. So, when should you bring them in for their first cleaning? As soon as their first tooth comes in, or by age one.
  • Stay Hydrated – Hydration is important in general, but it turns out it prevents cavities, too—the less saliva in your mouth, the more inviting the environment for cavities. So, make sure you and your kids reach your water goals each day!

Alrighty, all these preventative tips alone can save you a ton, but are you ready for some more hacks? No floss is required for this next set of advice!


7 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR NEXT DENTAL APPOINTMENT

Okay, now that you've done everything you can to prevent costly appointments, what are some ways to save on routine care? Here are some tips:

  • Ask About Patient Referral Programs – Most dentists will offer you a discount if you refer a friend to their practice, so ask about their incentives, and then spread the word!
  • Look for New Patient Specials – Lots of dentists offer deals for first-time patients, so call or check their website before you schedule an appointment! Ours was running a deal for a $99 exam, cleaning, and x-rays.
  • Don't Be Afraid to Negotiate – So many people are afraid to ask for a better price, but honestly, what's the worst thing that can happen? Someone says no. Truthfully, nine times out of ten, we get it when we ask for a price break. Before agreeing to have a procedure done, always ask for a price estimate and then negotiate from there. You can say, “I definitely want to get these cavities filled, but only have $350 budgeted. Is there a way we can work out a price break?”
  • Offer to Pay Cash – Speaking of price breaks, many businesses will offer a discount if you pay in cash. So, ask if that's possible!
  • Know What to Expect – Check out FairHealthConsumer.org so you can get an idea of what procedures in your area should cost. That way, you don't get taken for a ride!
  • Look for Coupons – Yes, you can find coupons for the dentist! Check Groupon, and don't ever toss those Valpacks that come in the mail! You'd be surprised what you'll find in there.
  • Go to a Dental School for Cleanings – If you're strapped for cash, get in touch with a local dental school. Many offer free cleanings; you'll just need to prepare to wait! With students doing the work and being observed, the appointments can take a while.

Want more advice for negotiating a better price at the dentist? We have a post all about haggling the classy way!


IS DENTAL INSURANCE WORTH IT?

woman calculating dental bills, from Fun Cheap or Free

No one knows better than you what's best for your family, but if you're wondering whether or not to invest in dental insurance, here are a few things to know:

  • Workplace Plans Are Usually Worth It – If your workplace offers dental insurance, it's usually worth signing up! Most plans only cost employees around $20 per month out of pocket (sometimes even less), and that will cover all routine cleanings, x-rays, etc. Having insurance also helps offset the costs of unexpected things like cavity fillings.
  • Consider a Dental Savings Plan – If your employer doesn't offer dental insurance, you may want to look at dental savings plans. There are a ton of affordable options that offer 50% off dental care. You can head over to DentalPlans.com to browse for plans and dentists that accept them.
  • Use Your HSA – If you have an HSA, you can use those funds to cover dental care! Not sure what an HSA is or how to get one? An HSA is a health savings account, and we've answered all your HSA questions here!

One more tip! If you have vision insurance, you can often bundle with a dental plan to save on both.


HOW DO YOU SAVE MONEY ON DENTAL CARE?

Those are just a few tips that we hope will help you save some money! We'd love to hear what you think, though.

Do you have suggestions to add? Let us know in the comments!

Girls at the dentist, from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for more ways to save on medical care?

Keep smiling!